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commanteerApr. 24, 2014 - 08:16PM JST
I hope this wasn't an English teacher: "Some strollers literally are the size of aircraft carriers"
If they were literally the size of an aircraft carrier, they wouldn't fit inside the city, much less on a train.
Posted in: Ministry says it's OK for 'baby cars' to hog space on public transport
commanteerApr. 18, 2014 - 10:17AM JST
Another chance for intolerant people to say "Japan is weird." I like that Japanese are not afraid to explore other options, and that they can sit in a bar like this without being harassed like they would in many other countries.
Costumes have always been conducive to more open communication - people speak more freely when their identities are hidden.
Sure, you can say it's just "talking to people," but I find much conversation to be filled with subtexts and status concerns. One of the first questions out of an American will be to learn what you do for a living, for example. Everything else flows from that (status, money, opportunity, usefulness, etc.)
I just read an article where naked yoga classes are popular in New York. Now who's really weird?
Posted in: A fetish for full body suits in Japan
commanteerApr. 17, 2014 - 11:59AM JST
Bitcoins clearly have their problems, but it's worth noting that national currencies such as the yen and US dollar are also "imaginary" currencies. They are backed by the promise of their governments only, and governments always eventually renege on those promises.
Posted in: Court rejects bankruptcy protection for Mt Gox
commanteerApr. 17, 2014 - 11:54AM JST
Hope they sink more. They compromised a good search engine, and are now busy burying almost every independent website on the net in favor of inferior webpages owned by big businesses and large-scale Google ad buyers. Diversity on the net is disappearing, thinks to the assistance of Google.
Posted in: Google takes hit on growth disappointment
commanteerApr. 15, 2014 - 01:11PM JST
Wearable is so 2013. We are moving up to hearable tech soon, which will be a small device in your ear (looking like a hearing aid), that will hear your instructions and answer to you. For example, when asking directions while driving. Certainly safer than all these drivers looking at the navi on their iphones.
Posted in: Wearable tech gaining momentum
commanteerApr. 11, 2014 - 07:05PM JST
After all the news stories, how many customers will go to this store to ogle the 300,000 yen mangoes? Say (conservatively), 3000 or so? That's 100 yen customer, many of whom will be spending money in the store. Pretty good, considering 300,000 yen will buy almost nothing in print advertising and is a tiny fraction of what a TV commercial would cost.
Great publicity for Miyazaki mango producers as well.
Considering the win/win nature of it all, I wouldn't be surprised if the buyer and the seller are cooperating, and the price is just a sham.
Posted in: Pair of mangoes fetch Y300,000 at auction
commanteerApr. 11, 2014 - 02:25PM JST
For this who missed it. Why is it silly to pay 300,000 yen for a couple mangoes, but oh so cool to pay 300,000 yen for a bottle of wine? Especially considering that the only the mango buyer (a store) will get several million yen worth of free publicity?
commanteerApr. 11, 2014 - 12:35PM JST
Why this is outrageous! Only in Japan. Next thing you know, we'll be hearing about Japanese paying 1000s of dollars for fermented grape juice! Crazy....
commanteerApr. 07, 2014 - 03:04PM JST
Hard to compare between cultures. Anyway, I am more interested in the results, not the methods. How do the kids turn out as adults? Maybe Canada has cornered the market on responsible child rearing, but I know Canadian parents who have to worry about their otherwise bright and normal 13 and 14 year old kids getting involved in drugs, getting pregnant or getting arrested. Those problems are far less likely to crop up in Japan.
Japanese do come off as lax when out with kids at restaurants, or when driving. One the other hand, people in North America and Europe often seem unreasonably intolerant of noise from children.
Obviously, the smart phone induced neglect is a bad thing, but that's hardly confined to Japan. Give it a few years in other countries. Today's phone-addict young women will be tomorrow's neglectful mothers.
Posted in: What’s your impression of parental supervision of children when families are out and about in Japan?
commanteerApr. 02, 2014 - 08:48AM JST
That's the ideal concept, but my experience was that the more special requests a customer had, the less they were likely to tip. Just one of those things.
Posted in: Japanese restaurants in New York introduce ban on tipping
commanteerApr. 01, 2014 - 10:13AM JST
Wow, Billy, I wonder what kind of experience that was? My experience was that Japanese were good customers, especially large groups. True, they rarely went over the standard 15%, but a table of 12 Japanese would usually all order the same dish - making them very easy to wait on. A table of 12 Americans will make a point of each ordering something different, often with special custom requests - very time consuming.
So far as "heart," that's the kind of vague and meaningless criticism I often hear about Japan from foreigners. I hear that criticism leveled at Japanese musicians, too, when a performance was otherwise flawless. How can a customer know what's in a waitperson's heart? How ridiculous is that? Conversely, why not just assume that American waitstaff are all chatting you up simply because they want a bigger tip? Where's the heart in that?
And, the etymology of "tip" has nothing to do with "to insure prompt service." Never did.
commanteerMar. 28, 2014 - 03:45PM JST
I know that Cindy Crawford got a cool million maybe 15 years ago for one day of work - a commercial for a pachinko chain. These guys are bigger stars than she was even at her peak, and things haven't gotten cheaper. I can't see either of these guys getting out of bed for $50,000, much less filming a commercial.
Posted in: Schwarzenegger, Willis team up for coffee commercial
commanteerMar. 27, 2014 - 07:26PM JST
Not weak. The typical western strong male lead is quiet. A low voice projects control, determination and strength. Shouting out "power" is seen as weak. Shouting expresses a loss of control. In Japan, it's more acceptable.
Gary Cooper, Bruce Willis, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, John Wayne...none of them would shout "power" to express a feeling of power. It would be weird. Schwarzenegger is slightly comedic and over-the-top, so he shouts easier.
commanteerMar. 25, 2014 - 01:15PM JST
I used to be a waiter, and the IRS assumed about 10% in those days. Maybe more now. Tipping is awful, if you ask me. In addition to customers who simply don't tip because they don't have to, it creates a good situation for workplace abuse.
Say a waiter has 4 tables in an expensive restaurant. He's a good waiter, but the manager doesn't like him. Or maybe the manager is shaving sex with another waiter and wants to give him/her preferential treatment. The favored waiter will find his tables filled with the best customers, the ones who order expensive wine and tip big. The other waiter will get the scraps. Maybe one table is the managers friends, who order almost nothing, get free drinks and monopolize the table (and the waiter's time ) all night. The other tables will be empty, or the less favored waiter will get the lost looking tourists on a tight budget who arrive with some coupon book looking to share a meal. The two waiters can work all night, but one will make several times what the other makes.
The other thing about tipping is that it encourages waiters to move customers out quickly or to get them to spend more. The owner likes this, but it creates an uncomfortable situation for customers who aren't as hungry, or who don't drink wine. I love that we can eat out in Japan, order something light, and the waiter doesn't sneer at us for using up his table.
And of course, the whole system is demeaning. People say that if they can't tip, then they can't be sure the waiter will provide good service. That implies that waiters are lazier and have less integrity than just about any other worker who works in a non-tipping job.
Now that tip jars are in every shop that sells food, it's gotten worse. Just pay employees a decent salary, like any other developed country!
commanteerMar. 24, 2014 - 06:43PM JST
I agree the debt problem is very very serious. It's so serious that a tax hike will do almost nothing to address it. Especially when there's no accountability as to how the money is spent. It may make it worse, hard to say. Japan has to import oil to keep the engine running, especially with nuclear power off the table.
Japan has to either default (tell all those people they can forget about their pensions) or inflate. Or both. Historically, countries that can will use the press to keep making more money - until faith in the currency collapses. The bright side is, Japan is one of the few countries where people might accept a 50% cut in their pensions without rioting.
The problem is not with raising taxes. It's with paying yet more taxes to an unaccountable government that has already misused the taxes they collected before. Look where the stimulus money is going. The usual suspects.
Posted in: Japan ready to roll out more stimulus to cushion sales tax hike
commanteerMar. 24, 2014 - 07:04AM JST
The whole economy is going to come crashing down. This tax hike is used to take money from the struggling middle class to keep things going a while longer. The stimulus is used to take what's left of the country before the crash and divide it up between politicians and their friends - so they'll have an even fatter cushion when it all comes tumbling down.
Sales hike to restore health care? Hah! They're just trying to keep the boat afloat a bit longer while they finish looting the safe.
And to think there are actually ordinary people who believe this will all work out in the end. A country as productive as Japan can recover from a crash fairly fast, but that will mean getting rid of the bloated government and its cronies and a obstructionist bureaucracy. So the guys in power are cashing in now.
commanteerMar. 21, 2014 - 05:54PM JST
It's not only Indonesia that's corrupt. It's another example of the USA believing that everything in the world falls under their jurisdiction. This was a business involving Japan and Indonesia, and yet the USA finds a reason to skim money off the deal.
Imagine a US company doing a deal in Mexico that happens to violate Chinese law. If the US company has any business in China, the Chinese courts could seek millions by threatening criminal charges against them. What goes around comes around.
Posted in: Marubeni fined for bribing Indonesia gov't officials
commanteerMar. 19, 2014 - 06:51AM JST
...how are passerbys even supposed to know that any of these are privately owned property?
Laser targeted gun turrets, crocodiles and signs saying "This is the Lair of Dr. Evil" (or some such).
Seriously, the islands in Saga look great, except for the adjoining factory on the mainland. I'm sure there are plenty of islands that can be had for cheap, though. Just remember to leave some money for development of power, water, boat landing etc. Who wouldn't want their own island?
Posted in: 5 uninhabited Japanese islands you can buy right now
commanteerMar. 17, 2014 - 11:10AM JST
@Lilic. It isn't just Japan that is brand obsessed. Look at all the Westerners with their iPhones. A brand wallet will still be a good wallet in 5 years - while brand electronic gear will be obsolete.
Better yet, buy something based on its quality - not on the brand name stuck on it.To that end, some pirated goods are every bit as good as the brands they copy, but much cheaper.
Posted in: Fake brand-name goods confiscation at all time high; 90% originate in China
commanteerMar. 14, 2014 - 07:55PM JST
Meanwhile, Americans just slap a bumper sticker on their car that reads "Help the victims" (or some variation). I don't know how many people/causes have been helped by bumper stickers on American cars. And these are grown ups. Leave the kids alone.
Posted in: Teens sharing photos of themselves 'praying' for victims of Tohoku disaster cause stir
Apr. 25, 2014 - 03:40AM JST
They made a deal. In his statement though Obama seemed reluctant and said that islands were…
Posted in: Obama says Senkaku islands covered by security treaty
Apr. 25, 2014 - 03:36AM JST
The Chinese courts did not name the Chinese party awarded the compensation...... why not???
Posted in: China frees ship after Mitsui O.S.K. pays $28 mil
Apr. 25, 2014 - 03:33AM JST
Wow. The investigators should be court-martialed for criminal incompetence.
There is a reason why the Allied…
Posted in: U.S. soldier accused of killing teens in Iraq
@tmarie: Why so serious all the time?! Relax.... It's not like they're gonna be in meetings…
Posted in: Robot diplomacy
Apr. 25, 2014 - 03:22AM JST
In 1951, the Senkakus were put under US trusteeship by San Francisco Peace Treaty. In 1972,…
Posted in: Obama: U.S.-Japan treaty applies to disputed islands